The Institute for Rebooting Social Media, an academic institute initiated by Harvard University, aims to fix social media's problems and essentially make it a better place.
This "pop-up initiative" is set to last for only three years and is under the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society of Harvard University.
The Institute is set to use a sociotechnical approach in its attempt to make social media less toxic.
The Institute for Rebooting Social Media
The Institute for Rebooting Social Media is a new but temporary academic institute initiated by the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society (BKCIS) of Harvard University.
According to the Institute's website, it defines itself as a "three-year, 'pop-up' research initiative to accelerate progress towards addressing social media's most urgent problems, including misinformation, privacy breaches, harassment, and content governance."
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The Institute for Rebooting Social Media has received funding from the John S. and John L. Knight Foundation and Craig Newmark Philanthropies, per a report by the BBC.
The Institute aims to put together a portfolio that includes research, projects, and even educational opportunities that are all designed to improve social media.
The Institute for Rebooting Social Media is scheduled for a soft launch this fall, followed by a full launch in the spring semester next year.
How the Institute Plans to Make Social Media Better
"The goal of the new (and, by design, ephemeral) Institute is to spur real, practical changes in how online social media works," according to the Institute for Rebooting Social Media's website.
The Institute aims to take a sociotechnical approach in its attempt to make social media better. This means that "Institute participants will analyze the benefits, risks, and possibilities of networked communication using broad perspectives from science, law, public governance, economics, and other fields," per the official website.
Participants will also get to develop policies, test and come up with new ideas, and even build protocols and prototype tools.
Social Media 'No Longer Fit for Purpose'
According to the report by BBC, an analysis done by the BKCIS has deemed that "social media is no longer fit for purpose."
Per the report, what was initially a platform for democracy and truth has now "facilitated the spread and acceptance of lies, division, and physical harm."
Indeed, there have been multiple and even countless instances that have shown how social media has become a toxic place for its users. An example of this is a poll conducted in 2019 that showed that the 'Like' button is one of the most toxic elements of social media.
It is, however, not the most toxic element of social media, according to the poll. That distinction went to triggering content.
Social media platforms have made various efforts to make their communities less toxic. Facebook, for example, previously introduced new settings and policies that aim to curb toxic content.
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Written by Isabella James